Wednesday, June 24, 2009

More Violence In Iran

Ayatollah Khamenei: Iran Won't Give In To Pressure

June 24, 2009 02:30 PM EST

Riot police in Iran's capital fired tear gas and bullets in the air Wednesday in clashes with protesters who converged on a square near the parliament building in defiance of government orders to halt demonstrations demanding a new presidential election, witnesses said.

Security forces _ who vastly outnumbered the small group of demonstrators _ beat the protesters gathered on Tehran's Baharestan Square with batons and fired tear gas canisters and rounds of ammunition into the air, witnesses told The Associated Press. [...]

Mousavi's wife, Zahra Rahnavard, a former university dean who campaigned beside him, said on another of his Web sites that his followers had the constitutional right to protest and the government should not deal with them "as if martial law has been imposed in the streets." [...]

Khamenei has ordered protests to end, leaving Mousavi with the choice of restraining followers or continuing to directly challenge the country's ultimate authority despite threats of escalating force.

"On the current situation, I was insisting and will insist on implementation of the law. That means, we will not go one step beyond the law," Khamenei said on state television. "For sure, neither the system nor the people will yield to pressure at any price." He used language that indicated he was referring to domestic pressures.

He told opposition supporters once again to halt their protests and accused the U.S., Britain and other foreign powers of fomenting days of unprecedented street protests over the vote.

Meanwhile Wednesday, a conservative candidate in the disputed presidential election said he was withdrawing his complaints about voting fraud for the sake of the country, state television reported.

The announcement by Mohsen Rezaie, a former commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards, moved the cleric-led government one step closer to a final declaration of victory for Ahmadinejad. State TV reported that Ahmadinejad would be sworn in sometime between July 26 and Aug. 19.

The Swan Song of the Islamic Republic

June 22, 2009 10:22 PM
Whatever happens from this point on, nothing will ever be the same in Tehran.

Whatever happens, if the protest gains momentum or loses steam, if it ends up prevailing or if the regime succeeds in terrorizing it, he who should now only be called president-non-elect Ahmadinejad will only be an ersatz, illegitimate, weakened president. [...]

Whatever happens, and beyond these internal conflicts, the people will be dissociated from an anemic and fatally wounded regime.

Whatever happens, young people, who were believed to be enthralled by the principles of political Islam and who a month ago, upon Ahmadinejad's return from Geneva, had supposedly planned a triumphal reception for the president-non-elect, will have said, loud and proud, with an audacity matched only by their political intelligence, that this president shamed them.

Whatever happens, there will be in Tehran, Tabriz, Ispahan, Zahedan, and Ardebil, millions of young people who in a matter of a few days will have become, like the timid Mousavi, in a sense larger than themselves--and will have understood that they could, with their bare hands, without provocation or violence, keep a power at bay. [...]

Whatever happens, the people know, from this point on, that they are the people and that there is not a regime on earth that can remain in power against the people.

Whatever happens, a body politic has been formed in the heat of peaceful protests--and even if it gets winded and loses steam, even if the murderers think they can declare victory, there is a new actor onstage, without whom the rest of this country's story will not be written.

Whatever happens, the beautiful face of Neda Soltan, killed at point-blank range last Saturday by a Bassidj henchman, the images of kids beaten to death by the attack squadron and motorcycle infantry of the guardians of the revolution, the videos of the enormous protests, impressively calm and dignified, will have, via Twitter, circled both the cyberplanet and the planet.

Whatever happens, the emperor has no clothes.

Whatever happens, the regime of the ayatollahs is, in the greater or lesser long term, condemned to compromise or disappear.

Iran protest updates by: Nico Pitney and Andrew Sullivan

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